'The North Will Rise Again,' by John Robb

Perhaps best known for his bio “The Stone Roses and the Resurrection of British Pop,” Brit rock scribe/musician John Robb has set his sights on the slightly broader picture for his next work: Manchester’s place in the world of U.K. music.

This week sees the release (in Europe, at least) of Robb’s “The North Will Rise Again: Manchester Music City 1978-2008,” a 400-page paperback that lets the key players — from The Smiths, New Order and Joy Division, Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses, et al — tell Manchester’s musical story “in their own words.”

The book features new interviews, presented chronologically, detailing the city’s evolution from punk to the Factory scene to Madchester and on to Oasis and the Britpop explosion.

Robb includes the perspectives of a who’s who of Manchester’s legendary scene: Morrissey, Johnny Marr, Peter Hook, Mark E. Smith, Shaun Ryder, Ian Brown, Pete Shelley, Noel Gallagher — even Tony Wilson, before his death.

“I’ve spoken to just about everybody,” Robb told Manchester’s CityLife last week. “In fact, the biggest problem has been keeping it all down to a manageable size. The book is around 155,000 words long as it is and it could have been double that.

“It’s been quite a job. Ian Brown gave me 30,000 words to work with!”

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